BRITTANY LE STRANGE: This is Brittany Le Strange. Today's date is Thursday, May 16, 2013. The time is 10: 12 and I'm interviewing Robert Pulsch. How old are you Mr. Pulsch?

ROBERT PULSCH: I'm seventy-nine.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And how long have you lived in this house?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh approximately fifty-five years.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Fifty five years, okay. How much was the -- if you don't mind me asking, how much was the house when you first purchased it?

ROBERT PULSCH: I built it for $10,000.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You built it? Wow. And how many rooms?

ROBERT PULSCH: When I built this, it was this room, the kitchen dinette together and two bedrooms. So, it was four rooms with a bath.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Four rooms with a bath. Why here?



ROBERT PULSCH: Why here? Because upright next door my parent's house and then 1:00when I went to get married they, at one time, bought lots here. It was one farm. This was one all big farm and they bought lots here and then when we got married, they gave the lots to us for our wedding present.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Very nice. How is the neighborhood?

ROBERT PULSCH: Very nice, yup.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you think of the state?

ROBERT PULSCH: The state is good too. I like the state. I like the state.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Tell me about your family.

ROBERT PULSCH: My family, I have six children and I have one son lives right up the road. We used to have a plumbing shop, my father did, and I took it over, and then my son took that over and built a house where the shop is. And I have 2:00two other daughters that live very, very close right up the [unintelligible - 00: 02: 19], about a mile from here, I would think. One on one side and the other side is -- they live in highland.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So, no one really went that far.

ROBERT PULSCH: No. Well, I have a daughter in Alexandria, Virginia and I have one in Newport, Rhode Island.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay, so reasonably close considering.

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, yeah. It needs [unintelligible - 00: 02: 41] real quick.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You said you're retired now?


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay and you used to do plumbing?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah. My father was in a plumbing business from the '20s, 1920, and then I took over -- I worked with him ever since I was little boy. Then in 3:001969, I took the business over completely and then I was doing mostly search plans, construction, get out of plumbing business, end of domestic plumbing. But I did a lot of larger scale plumbing. I did most of the plumbing work at Venture when he built it. And then I went -- they called me up -- I did a lot of supplant work, a lot of supplant maintenance and the local supplant here in Middletown called me up and wanted to know if I want to start a maintenance department for them. So, that worked out very well. Very well. Well, I got a state pension [unintelligible -00: 03: 55] the whole nine yards. It was good.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you like about living in New Jersey?

ROBERT PULSCH: What I like about it? I like to live on a water; that's where I 4:00was brought up. I love and I don't know if -- I guess I could live in land if I wanted to, but everything is pretty good. Of course, we're getting over populated now, you can't help that. All the East Coast is overpopulated. Everybody wants to move by the water and now we're in problems.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you have any spots in particular in the neighborhood where growing up you used to like hangout or frequent?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, I worked on the farm here most of the time and then we have a swimming pool, nice big swimming pool they built back in the early 30s on the beach down here. And I used to work a half a day on a farm when I was very young here and then in the afternoon I'd walk down to the beach and go swimming. Of course, my uncle he was a commercial fisherman. My ancestors that came, 5:00that's what -- they came from Germany in the late 1800s and they went right into Claymont here. And then I -- so, I always liked the water, so I do think that this state is very nice. That's what I really like about it and of course, we have a lot of terrain in New Jersey. I like hunting. Of course years ago we hunted. There was no houses here. I hunted right out of the back of my house. After school I'd go hunting in the afternoon. You can't do that anymore either.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, you can't. Which beach did you usually go to? Did you just stay right here in Port Monmouth or did you venture out to other shores?

ROBERT PULSCH: What? Just to venture, just to go to beaches or?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, which beach did you go to when you're growing up?

ROBERT PULSCH: I just went to the swimming pool right down here to the beach. I never…

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. You never ventured to see Seaside or Belmar or 6:00anything like that?

ROBERT PULSCH: You kept the time on my hands that I went swimming in Sandy Hook -- not Sandy Hook, Sea Bright. I didn't go in the ocean too much but oh, I don't know why. I never sat on a beach. I never enjoyed sitting on a beach.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, not one to sit still?

ROBERT PULSCH: No, that's right.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Can you tell me about the neighborhood and community, like how you're involved with it?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, I was a volunteer fireman and now I'm a life member of the Port Monmouth Fire Company. So, I was very involved in my younger years in the fire company here right in town here, right at the corner where my plumbing shop was [unintelligible - 00: 06: 53]. That used to be a firehouse right here. It's blocked up. So, I was very involved in that. Then when I was young, I was 7:00in the Boy Scouts here in troop 88 in Port Monmouth and we collected newspapers. Our biggest thing was during the war, we collected newspapers in wagons. Nobody, no fathers or nothing helped you. We're knocked on doors and brought them back to the firehouse, there was a little shed in the back, and tied up bundles of newspapers. We sold them war bonds too. We got pledges for war bonds. That was nice. It was a nice town because you knew everybody. You knew everybody. Even Halloween we had a -- that was just -- you only went out at dark. You didn't go out in the afternoon.


ROBERT PULSCH: We roamed the whole town.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Not like today.

ROBERT PULSCH: No, not like today. Things has changed.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What are the schools like around here?


ROBERT PULSCH: Very good. My aunt was a school teacher so I had to behave myself.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You didn't want to get in trouble.

ROBERT PULSCH: No. The schools were very good and a lot -- there aren't too much many neighbors around anymore. So, from Leonardo High School, we have a yearly reunion of all the graduates of the old Leonardo High School which was in Leonardo but it was Middletown township of course. Most of the population of children who went there was from the Bay Shore area here. Middletown was hardly anything because it was all farms out here. There was only one school bus took care of all that area out there. [Unintelligible - 00: 08: 51] had, you know, a little more population but not that much.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Any crime in the area or anything like that?

ROBERT PULSCH: Not too bad.


ROBERT PULSCH: No, no. Now, it's even got better.


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. Does the town have any nicknames?

ROBERT PULSCH: No, this town? No, no, it's always Port Monmouth. Port Monkey sometimes they call it.


ROBERT PULSCH: But no, no nicknames really.


ROBERT PULSCH: I don't know. We never -- the kids up in that end they called it Middle Track because that was a track of land. That was a big farm at one time up there and that got developed I guess just a little after the turn of the century on the other side of the highway, and of course they got flooded too in certain sections in there and that was all farm land. And they were mostly all summer houses and there was -- when I was young, there was no other children here. I had a friend down on the beach or a friend up in the other side of 10:00highway, but in this neighborhood there wasn't any other children my age. It was sparsely populated and a lot of it were summer houses too. So, they were -- you know, when the booming came after -- in the 50s and after the 50s, that's when they started developing pretty heavily and was year around people and so the population has grown tremendously.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Are there a lot of community events?

ROBERT PULSCH: Middletown Township itself has -- they have -- not too many, I don't think. They don't go -- you have Middle town day and I guess that was 11:00just started a few years ago and they have a lot of parks now. They do have that. They've started -- they're big on that.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When did you first hear that the storm was coming?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh maybe a couple days, you know, regular weather forecasts, but I really never took them seriously because I've been through all of them here. And when I lived next door, you know, there was this hurricane of -- they didn't have names then -- of '44, 1944 a hurricane came and that was quite a bad one. But two houses got flooded up right here from the bay, but the tide wasn't as high as this. And of course my father belonged to a fire company and they 12:00always -- if anything happened in town or around here they called -- the first people they called was the fire company, no matter what. Car wreck, we even got called up to get some buglers that robbed the [unintelligible - 00: 12: 23]. They're on the roof and they see them up there, so the police department calls the Port Monmouth Fire Company to get a ladder up there and go get them, but the fireman went up and got them and brought them down. So, I always said the firemen, they're the first ones that get called. Even now, even in this storm, you know, aftermath. They got flooded on the firehouse there too, had three-foot in here. And we always had a very active Ladies Auxiliary here, but now some of the ladies are firemen. There's no more ladies auxiliary here. 13:00It's a shame, but there's lady firemen now. They're good, very active, and they started cooking immediately on barbecues because the firehouse was flooded so everything was shut off here, and they start going around to serve food. So, they were the first ones on the line, so they -- it's a great community I think. Port Monmouth is a big community.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What were your first thoughts about the storm before it hit?

ROBERT PULSCH: Like the other ones, you know. I was through hurricane Donna, and that was the only storm that ever came up as high to this last, and that came right up under the floor there, underneath that there. Just a little over top of that concrete wall, you know, coming into the house. That's as high as it got. But at that time, I wasn't home; I was down on the beach. My father 14:00was in the plumbing business so we took out oil barrels and raised them up. [Unintelligible - 00: 14: 12] after the storm, usually one house got flooded because most of the lot houses had basements then and we put them back. And that was over in east Keansburg where it was Wallen's Market there. It's closed, there's nothing there now, right there [unintelligible - 00: 14: 28] corner there. There was a big grocery store on your left hand side. So anyway, it was about noontime just before and I called up my wife and I said, "I can get some chopped meat for hamburgers for lunch." So, I bought that and coming back down and that tide came in on hurricane Donna. It was unbelievable. Timbers was coming across the road and we went over one and it must have been nailed to something and it flattened a couple tires. So, I was going parking on the 15:00bridge, Pews Creek Bridge and I says, "Ah, maybe this isn't such a good idea because if the bridge goes…"

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, you lose the car.

ROBERT PULSCH: So, we park it on the incline, the ramp link going up, and then catch houses there was a -- he had a concrete one storied building that he lived in, his home and everything. He owned the marina too when he was just working on that, digging it at that time. A friend of mine who was with me, we stayed on the front step as the hurricane came in and the waves knocked the truck and ripped the tires right off the rims, but it never went over. And there was a car just ahead of me, parked just ahead of me and that went into the creek. So, that hurricane Donna was bad. So, this one was, it wasn't as violent because it 16:00wasn't a hurricane. We didn't have the wind but it came in much higher.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you prepare for it?

ROBERT PULSCH: How did I prepare? Well, I had a generator and I jacked that way up high in that shed there. And my son-in-law came over because my wife, and Kathy, my daughter, they went up the road there to my daughter's house. And of course, you couldn't get across the highway because they'd blocked better off, the lights went out. So anyway, one of our friends in Fire Company came in and took them up, then they walked across the river and then somebody, I guess my daughter brought Tony, her husband, back. And he came across the highway, got in and then he brought him down here. And he stayed with me and I cooked supper, hamburgers, and then the water was coming in. I says, "Oh." We went down the cellar and I had two big pumps like hooked up and they were working, 17:00and then the tide just came in and went right over the generator. There was seven-foot of water out there. That was the end of that.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you stock up on any supplies or anything?

ROBERT PULSCH: No, never. I never have. They sell the bread and the milk out. That's the first two items that they sell out in the markets.


ROBERT PULSCH: But then the door blew in, the whole frame. That blew in.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you feel like you had adequate warning for the storm?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh yeah. They were right. I wasn't paying [unintelligible - 00: 17: 51], but you know what's confusing, they said, "You're going to get a tide," and that -- they really don't say what's the height is, but it's above mean high water. I guess it was about -- here, it was eleven-foot point nine I would 18:00think because in the -- the Sewerage Authority got flooded too and I work down there for twenty years, you know, the plumbing business. And Ray is an engineer, he's in charge of -- he's the executive director now, and I went down to see how they were doing in the next couple days. And he's got a surveyor in immediately the next morning to give an exact number on the elevation in there, which was 11.9. So, I figured, you know, that's been pretty close to here, very close.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Were there evacuation warnings?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh yeah, oh sure, all the radio and the…

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You decided to stay anyway?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah, and then they came around with a loud speaker and says, "You've got to leave, you got to leave." I didn't leave and a lot of people 19:00don't leave, except people that are down lower at the end of the street and they know the water comes up high.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you with your cars?

ROBERT PULSCH: They're removed. My children came down and told me to move them and I did take them up to the end of the street here in Main Street. I parked them in my friend's yard. And also they convinced me to move my boat too. I said, "The water isn't going to get that high." So I moved it up to her yard and then I went and told my neighbor up the street there, I says, "I'm going to move my cars up higher." So, I did take heed to the warning, and he didn't. He didn't move his cars [unintelligible - 00: 19: 52] nowhere we got that far up the street, but it did. He lost both of them.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you do the day of the storm?


ROBERT PULSCH: What was I doing part of the storm?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Just take me through your day.

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, I don't know. I didn't have any job to go to.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You were home most of the day.

ROBERT PULSCH: I would say so, yes.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What would you say was the first sign of the storm?

ROBERT PULSCH: The first sign? It was this norm -- you know, just get a lot of -- you know, flooding comes up. I didn't think it was that unusual. The wind wasn't that high like a river hurricane, and I thought the water would go and come out and we'd control it with the pumps, but it came up higher. And you know, they were saying, everything is in line, atmospheric pressure was the lowest and the moon was just right, the full moon, and it was blowing northeast for three days prior to the storm. Everything was in line and it was enormous storm. Not as far as wind or it wasn't a hurricane, but the size of it that was 21:00out in the ocean, and then coming in. Pretty bad.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Around what time would you say your power went out?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh I guess about six o'clock I would think, somewhere around then.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. And you said you had hamburgers for dinner?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yup. I didn't wash the pots and pans.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You made those before the power went out?

ROBERT PULSCH: I don't know. No.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, it was afterwards?

ROBERT PULSCH: I've got a gas stove and that worked.



BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you get information that first day, like after everything started to hit?

ROBERT PULSCH: I probably I had the radio on. I listen to the radio a lot or work out in my shop. And of course, my son came over too when we put up, thank God for that, because I had a whole bunch of hand, electric tools under the bench and we put them all in the bench. I said, "You don't need to do that. 22:00The water isn't going to get that high." Well, it's a good thing he did because the water came right up to the bench. I would have lost them, a lot of big power tools. I was building boats. I had just finished the one I had to move. I did take heed to -- and we raised the furniture in the house here and it wasn't high enough. We start raising it up higher and I didn't -- we just got this couch and I had this chair and raised that up. But the water got up to -- I had it up on chairs, so the water came up about here. We saved it. I didn't throw everything away. I couldn't do that.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Around what time would you say you went to sleep?

ROBERT PULSCH: Early, I don't know. I really didn't -- because I didn't have any-- I never looked at the watch, probably. I would think maybe nine or ten o'clock.



ROBERT PULSCH: I went upstairs.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When do you think the immediate storm ended?

ROBERT PULSCH: I think it ended way before ten o'clock. I mean not ten o'clock, midnight. I'm not sure. I got up, you know, maybe middle of the night, early morning, I looked out and it was all dry. What time it really -- but you know the tide goes out faster. The water goes out faster and that's what creates a lot of damage because it goes through dunes and everything else. Like down in the beach it just make new exits to start.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What went through your mind the next day when you woke up?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, what a mess is this. I lay in the bed [unintelligible - 00: 23: 59]. Might as well just take a bulldozer and flatten it all out. I knew it 24:00was going to be horrible.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When did you first go outside?

ROBERT PULSCH: Early. I guess real early, you know, day light.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you see?

ROBERT PULSCH: A mess. We didn't have any structural damage, you know. A lot of debris, the yard was all full of [unintelligible - 00: 24: 25]. Probably came because the wind shifted around more to the southern. It came down this way. That's why Union Beach got nailed like that. My God, that came up just right up the bay. That storm surge went all the way up the Hudson River, because I have a friend up by Kingston, just before Kingston, and he got a lot of water damage in his house.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Crazy. How did you respond to that first day? What did you do?

ROBERT PULSCH: I walk around the house most [unintelligible - 00: 24: 58] where I was going to start. My grandchildren came over and we started taking all the 25:00junk out and salvaging it. Then the next day, really, when we -- and of course, my daughter from Washington came and my daughter from Newport, Rhode Island came and bought all these tubs and salvaged upstairs and what was here. And so I then just probably started popping the cellar out.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How much water was in the cellar?

ROBERT PULSCH: The whole -- well, it was up.


ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah, because it had thirteen inches of water on top of the floor too. There was search arch in the water. The cellar was compressed so there was nothing down here. I had a lot of tools, old tools, new tools, a lot of them because when my son built a house, I took a lot of this stuff and put it 26:00down the cellar. So, [unintelligible - 00: 26: 08].

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you suffer any major damages besides losing tools and everything like that?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah, the contents in the at home. And of course, we had to rip the walls down and…

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How high did you have to go?

ROBERT PULSCH: Four foot and in here a little bit more. The water came in here thirty inches, thirty inches, so I was -- and the boiler is down the [subway] heating system, but I am going to put that and go and build a shed -- no, not a shed but part of the house. I'm going to build that with the same floor levels. The high side that's sixteen inches higher than this side and move the brand new boiler, the hot water unit that's with it up.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right, high ground.

ROBERT PULSCH: The only thing, you know, I had to put new electric services in. 27:00Well, I had a new -- I had a service over in that side and there was one service on this side that was there years ago and that was used as a, you know, just a [unintelligible - 00: 27: 16] box. And I had to install them and all the BX; you had to remove all that. So, it was quite extensive and the more I thought about it, you know, after I decided, I says I'm going to put that boiler up this summer because I want to heat -- to get heat in here, which I did. I did after the electric came back on. Well, I had the generator also too. I got it going. I spent a lot of time running around for gas. That was unbelievable.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Can you describe the mood of the community the next day?

ROBERT PULSCH: Everybody was beside themselves, especially some of my neighbors here, like that little house right over there. They're lower and they never 28:00went through a hurricane and they don't have not too much. I would say they're pretty poor and of course he worked for a big mechanical contractor. He wasn't working steady. He only had -- worked two or three days a week, but the company he worked for then did come down. They sent men down and put a new boiler and a new heating system in for him. And then his pastor down in a church in Leonardo, he was a builder and he came up and started to fixing. And of course it was the church people down there really help him out and started cleaning out. But the mood of the people, everybody was trying to help some and, you know, it was -- of course the Red Cross came in and I guess they had a truck. 29:00And there was the Christian's Calvary or something. They came in from out west and they set up that big tent in Mater Dei High School. I guess -- I don't know how that work but I think they did all the cooking here and then they distributed it, I guess Sea Bright and the oceanfront a little bit. I don't know how far he went. So, you know it was the community and the people were amazing, especially the Mennonites that came in from Pennsylvania too. They stayed here all winter and did houses. It's amazing. And of course they were very good mechanics. Well, that's their trade out there besides farming, and of course they said they weren't farming in the winter so they came here at worked.


ROBERT PULSCH: It was to see that. It made you kind of weak in the inside to 30:00see all that people come and help you.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Kind of restores your faith in the humanity of it.


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you get in touch with people the next day considering, you know, the cell service was…?

ROBERT PULSCH: Cell phones, modern community. Yup.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Which provider do you use?


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: For cell phone?

ROBERT PULSCH: I think. I don't know. I don't use it that much. I hadn't used again. I didn't even know how to work it when I got it. Verizon, that's what it is, Verizon. Yeah, Comcast is our supplier computer.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And what about the next day, what happened with like triage and day-to-day necessities?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, we went up to our daughters and of course what food we had in the freezer before that all thawed. Actually we hadn't thought of that. 31:00There was no problem there. And the food that the people were distributing mostly was for , you know, when they were cleaning it up and workers that -- the volunteers and stuff that was in here working because the people, especially down on the beach here, down in [unintelligible - 00: 31: 28] and Main Street, [unintelligible 00: 31: 33] horrible. And down the end, a lot of them people aren't in their houses yet. Of course, some of them or quite a few of them are just living upstairs.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You said you stayed here through the storm. After the storm, did you continue to stay here or did you stay…?

ROBERT PULSCH: No, no, no. We went right up to our daughter's house. She had -- because our -- one daughter was away in college and she had two bedrooms, and my sister lived next door kind of had to look out after her. Denise had a 32:00bedroom for her too. And then Christine the other daughter who lives on the side of [unintelligible 00: 32: 15], Kathleen went up there and stayed. So, we stayed up there and that worked out that fine.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You stayed there until the house was finished?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yes. Beginning of March we moved back in.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. How long would you say the power outage lasts?

ROBERT PULSCH: Just a couple of weeks. I don't remember really where we had generators and that sort of stuff.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How long did it take for stores to reopen?

ROBERT PULSCH: The stores opened quickly. Yeah, I guess as soon as the -- a lot of them got generators installed. Somebody was saying, "Yeah, we go down and get breakfast down at the gas station," at Leonardo side. I don't know which one it is. I don't know [unintelligible - 00: 32: 58], but the drug store didn't have -- got a generator in then too. I would think within a week they 33:00had generators working, big ones.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How about the gas shortages?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, it was just a generator because we didn't ride anywhere. We stayed here so we didn't need gas for the cars because I wasn't working somewhere where I had to get to work. That's what would have been the hard part was for people that were commuting then they had to get in the gas line to--

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Could you wait in any gas lines?



ROBERT PULSCH: No. I mean later on I know the gas lines was horrendous. Like for Wawa and Leonardo there was all the way to Port Monmouth along the highway. It's amazing. But one of my granddaughter's boyfriend, he works out by Princeton, and he got in the other ways, there wasn't any waiting list and he 34:00would call the cell phone to my son, both son-in-laws. "There's a gas station up on the way out past new Brunswick," he says. "There're no lines, nothing." And they would run out there with all these gas cans. What was amazing then, I was getting public parts or something I needed for working on the house here in [unintelligible - 00: 34: 26] and the line was horrendous storm. They were after gas cans. That's what they were waiting in line for.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: None left. How long did it take for the mail to start up again?

ROBERT PULSCH: It came right away. I don't remember exactly, but they came right away. The mail lady who was having the job, I said, "Boy you got some debris to walk over." She said, "Yeah." So, they must have got their trucks there up by the post office in Port Monmouth. That didn't get flooded. It got a little water maybe. I know in certain parts of that, the parking lot with 35:00Walgreen. They got -- people got their cars damaged there. I don't know just where they were parking though. But my neighbor here in that blue house, he's lucky to be alive. He's only five-foot tall and he can't swim and he's sixty maybe, and he has this big four wheel drive pickup truck. He says, "Oh boy, I better move it." So he moved it. I think he went all the way up there to Walgreen, parked it there and he came back and he wanted to get back to his house because his wife was there and his kids and children. He got to the street here and he started -- because he -- he says the water was up. He said 36:00it was coming up, and then when he got to the street, he stepped off where his property is out there and he went under. He said, "I got up and I got to the street sign extension," he says, "I held on to that and then I got back." Of course, they walked back up the side that struck him.


ROBERT PULSCH: But that water was just starting to turn then. So, it wasn't too -- I guess I don't know exactly the times that happened or before midnight.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How long did it take for trash to come pick up, they start up again?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah, they were pretty quick to township themselves because in Middletown here we have garbage trucks. They pick up -- we don't have garbage collection. They don't collect garbage but they do have this whole, I guess four or five big garbage trucks that they used for lift pickup. That's what 37:00their main movement with that. And they started right away with loaders and everything and then of course, I guess it was a couple weeks I would say before that other outfit came in with those big units that could pick up the trash.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you yourself clean up?


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you yourself clean up?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, a lot of help, grandchildren, grandchildren's boyfriends. So, a lot of help, a lot of help and my two son-in-laws, big help.


ROBERT PULSCH: I couldn't have done it without them. I really couldn't have.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How was trying to get in touch with the like the power company and how did you feel…?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, I didn't even bother.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You didn't even bother.

ROBERT PULSCH: I didn't even bother; I didn't even get excited about it. When the juice came back on, and of course it came -- up on that end of the highway 38:00it came on a little quicker. I would think in couple of weeks. I remember that wasn't too bad. And of course here, my son-in-law had the generator for the construction stuff. So, he was doing my sister's house and this house and now he's just working on that. They just came back in their house [unintelligible -00: 38: 24] last night. That can be. But it was dark in here because even after the lights came on, people didn't have electricity.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You couldn't turn it back on.

ROBERT PULSCH: No, I couldn't turn it back on. It was there.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How was getting in touch with the insurance companies?

ROBERT PULSCH: Horrible. I could never get my Homeowners. I finally got them, threatened them and then the adjuster came. FEMA came around the next day.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you have an appointment with FEMA and talk to them or anything?


ROBERT PULSCH: No, we didn't but we did make -- but we didn't have too much flood insurance. We had the least amount. We had 38,000 on flood insurance and they came around and they sent adjusters later on. I can say that the adjusters were very good. They were very knowledgeable people even with the Homeowners who came around. One was a young lady. This is a high pitch roof. She had this little ladder on the back of a pickup truck. She went right up that roof. I says boy oh boy. A regular man couldn't stand on that roof because there's ten, twelve pitch you know. It's almost possible. And she went over the whole house, the roof and made sure so shingles, nothing blew off. But we did get 7,000 from them because I had a big canopy shelter that was professionally made. 40:00It wasn't, you know, just blue canvass. I had pictures of that [unintelligible - 00: 40: 19], where I built the boat and had another little boat that I built years ago underneath it because I was starting to fix that up. I got money for that and couple other little items, but structurally the house there was nothing wrong with it.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: That's good. It could have been worse.

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh boy, some of them were worse.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How long do you believe the response took from people and authorities and everything?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, quite a while. Of course, the volunteers were good. First day I mean they were -- because every time the storm was coming the people in 41:00the fire house [unintelligible - 00: 41: 05]. That's the way it was and it still is that way and it makes me feel good. I mean all -- they're organized and they're there. And, you know, you got the road department so they have to get their men out and they started picking up the debris right away and opening debris off the roads and such. So, they were good, but as far as the response of, I guess, getting things moving -- but how much -- it could have gone any quicker. People complain. I noticed we didn't get insurance money till I guess end of December. So, you really got to threaten them and that they sent me -- we've got $10,000 -- but FEMA when -- like my sister didn't have flood 42:00insurance. They put $30,000 in her checking account the next day, and they said the same thing for us for living expenses for a while, like this. It was two or three weeks or two weeks or something. So, that covered our [unintelligible - 00: 42: 24]. They were here immediately. I don't know how they set it up so quickly. They must have been on the move when they heard the storm was coming.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: That's a good possibility.

ROBERT PULSCH: So, I have no complaints. I don't know what else they could have done.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did the authorities implement any protocols or curfews in the area?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, yes. The state troopers from Mississippi here, the first night, they were starting it. They caught guys, people I guess stealing and 43:00then the state troopers were here. It's amazing how quick they got here. It really is. It couldn't have been any better. They setup a road barricade going to Main Street, right across this Main Street Wilson area, barricaded that. Of course, you couldn't get over along the beach so I was isolated.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you cope with everything?

ROBERT PULSCH: I think it took a toll on us. Of course, it changed my life kind of. I was going to build another boat. I lost all my tools, the big stuff, you know. Not the hand tools but the big stuff I lost, big saws and planers and man saws, which can be replaced. And I had $1000 worth of wood already but that's 44:00still good. The water doesn't hurt that wood and I had it nice and -- I had it racked. I had it on the side of my spar shed out there, that long shed there and there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe somebody wants to build since I'm not building anymore big boats. I'm getting too old. I'll be eighty now in a couple of months. I'm going to build model boats.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How do you feel the community coped?


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How do you feel the community coped?

ROBERT PULSCH: I felt that they coped fine, but there was a lot of distress and there's a lot of -- I feel sorry for a lot of people. There was a young lady down here that lives with her mother and father, and her mother and father passed away and she works in Whole Foods as -- she doesn't have a high paying job. And the house is a little house, but it's a new -- well, it was built -- I'm saying new but I would think it was probably built in the '50s. And it was 45:00by built by a regular contractor very good. She went for SPA loan and they denied her. She probably didn't make enough money. So, whatever is -- you know, every day you read the paper and it changes. I mean [unintelligible - 00: 45: 28] park, how many weeks? You're still reading about it, but how many weeks did they come out? Every morning, there was something new that was going to happen. Well, now we just applied. We you applied for that emergency -- because fixed income now so I'm in the bracket that I can apply for the grants and we just applied for it last night on the computer for a grant to raise the house. I really don't want to raise it, but it's the only investment I have is 46:00the house and the property, you know. And that property over there with the signs over there, that's a big piece of property. They could build four houses in there on a corner. So, she moved out completely, she couldn't take it again. She isn't destitute, no. She had savings and stuff.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you feel safe in the community with all the looting and everything going on?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh yeah, I felt safe.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And you felt the response of the police was good?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh yeah. I mean they were here. Of course, they had their hands full just maintaining the highway traffic. The lights -- I mean all the way to [unintelligible - 00: 46: 59] on the other side here too, all the way up. And 47:00the amount of traffic nowadays and the people who live here and they had to go to work. And so they were working around the clock to get the people across the highway because we're barricaded with the barrier that's in the -- and then no lights so they couldn't let cars go through. They had to go up to the towns like up the top scenarios so they have a big gathering of police there, and finally they got generators in there to get the lights going. Somehow they -- I give them a lot of credit. They did a lot of work.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you contribute at all to your neighbors or the community during the time or did you focus more at home?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah, I stayed right here. I stayed right here. I didn't -- like everybody was about in the same boat, especially through here. The people 48:00like [unintelligible - 00: 48: 08] they're back. I don't know how many of them are back. A lot of them are gone. I see a lot of them are living in-- up in this top floor but there's a lot of contractors now. They're all -- they're fixing up and a lot of people are just fixing up the bare necessities to move back in. Now, you see all the trucks and now you see all the furniture companies coming back with the furniture, and you see the trucks with the appliances. They're all coming backend.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you feel the response of local government organizations, FEMA, insurance companies and all of those?

ROBERT PULSCH: I felt FEMA was good because they were right here. It was money. And they did -- I mean they set up centers where you could go to and asking 49:00questions, so I feel people -- I says if you didn't go to the ---- it's right in Leonardo. I says it's your own fault, but most -- I haven't talked to anybody that didn't go. So they're waiting. A lot of people thought it was going to happen, but still didn't happen. It's going to be years and now of course, they're blaming on the elevation. They got to pick out a benchmark. But then the townships and the boroughs can't adapt that to their building code. It will take a year or two. The only fault I have is Middletown did not post what they were doing and stuff. I don't know why. Like Highlands and Sea Bright they said start building. Maybe that's wrong, especially Sea Bright. Jesus. You 50:00ride through there and you're seeing water on this side and seeing water on that side.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you feel New Jersey prepared adequately?

ROBERT PULSCH: They weren't prepared. These emergency organizations and things and they did. I mean they were prepared, but like Keansburg got flooded right? That's Keansburg's and the state's own fault because for the flood gate in Waackaack Creek on the outside of -- it's between West Keansburg and [unintelligible - 00: 50: 54] and Keansburg. There is a flood gate there and that was even on -- years ago I was even president of the group for a while. I 51:00belonged to that for quite a few years. Back then, they wanted to park cars on the other side of the dike in the dune across by the boardwalk here. So, I think -- I don't know whether they -- they wanted to cut it down and make it lower. Well, they probably did. I don't know. And then the foreman of the -- the superintendent of the flood gate, he works for the state now. He worked there ever since he was 17 years old and very, very knowledgeable, very good person. And he said they've been complaining for twenty years to fix that in Keansburg and they didn't. It eroded the dike along the creek between Port Monmouth and East Keansburg now and it has to be fixed. Well, I see that 52:00they're going to appropriate money, they did. I wonder how many years that's going to have wait now before they fix it. It's the bureaucracy that gets you.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you think the state could have done differently to prepare?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, they could have done what they were supposed to do like that nonsense. That is horrible. And Port Monmouth was supposed to be diked years ago. FEMA was in here. They started to take their elevations in 1988 because they came down to [unintelligible - 00: 52: 49] and wanted to get our maps because we got a whole elevations of every place in Middletown because you have to do that before you can put your sewers in to find out because it all flows by gravity. And they borrowed the maps and what they -- of course, the 53:00guy down there loaned it to them and when he got all done with the [unintelligible - 00: 53: 16], he says, "The only thing you got to -- I want these back." But the guy came back with them and the engineering firm for the federal government and then brought right a whole new set of maps of FEMA layout. So, he says, "Well, let me see where your property is?" They have it right on my side walk about eight-foot nine inches above mean high water. So, you know, it just takes years and years and years. Now, how many years ago that was. That's what the whole drift of that meeting up in the Veterans of Foreign Wars was.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, I remember.

ROBERT PULSCH: Lucky people. They quieted down a little bit but they get beside themselves.


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think there is anyone or anything to blame for the storm or it was just a freak occurrence?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh a freak occurrence, there is no question about it. The only one we can blame is God, but we can't blame him. Everything was lined up perfect. All the stars were lined up. It just came in.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you feel about the media coverage, did you feel it was accurate or did you feel represented by them?

ROBERT PULSCH: I would say so, you know. Media coverage was good. I mean they were reporting what they heard and of course it changed every day. You know, they did good. The only thing some people complained about here was -- what made me feel real good is when you told me it was just Union Beach, Keansburg and Port Monmouth because all you hear in the media it's from Sandy Hook down. 55:00They did report a few times that was in here. Now, it's the boardwalks. That's the biggest thing. We got to get the boardwalks going.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: They want to get the summer revenue.

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, that's true. The economy. Everything hinges on everything. I wish they could -- we stop this fighting in Congress and do something. Create and not argue.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you think about the response of President Obama and Governor Christie?

ROBERT PULSCH: I would say both were good and I really think Christie really did a good, good job. Excellent.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did it change your opinion of him at all?

ROBERT PULSCH: No. I liked him from the beginning. Of course [unintelligible - 00: 55: 50] didn't like him. What can I tell you?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: He has his good and his bad points, just like everyone.

ROBERT PULSCH: Yeah. That's the scope. I don't want to get into that, but I 56:00read this morning where there is a big graft in there of how the taxes increased in his term. Well, if he didn't cut -- you got to pay the bills the state runs up and then he cut down the teachers and he cut down pensions. I think he should, you know, cut them. I'm getting a pension from the state and I think I'm over paid. I really do. I just happened to get into the state pension fund late in life, and I said, "Boy oh boy, if I had my own business I would never have the payment. Never, never, never, never." And it just seems to be government workers that have. Federal government workers don't have it. It's the state, you know. You know it's -- I don't know, but you got to live within 57:00your means.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Definitely. How did you feel about the response of the rest of the country?

ROBERT PULSCH: I thought it was terrific. I mean [unintelligible - 00: 57: 16]. Well, they were from -- other towns had different groups but I was amazed that the police in Union Beach, there was quite a whole group from another state there too. I forget where they were from.


ROBERT PULSCH: Michigan. So you know the response, boy, I mean they must have jumped in their patrol cars and came north. They have it.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you think of the response in comparison to Katrina or other storms that you've experienced?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, I wasn't down in Katrina. I hear that they…

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I'm sorry. I worded that wrong. In Katrina in general and then also to other storms that you've experienced.

ROBERT PULSCH: I think it sounds like -- this is what I heard or read that they 58:00really started very quick on replenishing, you know, rebuilding the dikes down and the levees. It sounded like they jumped on quicker, but I don't know what more they could have done to prevent the storm or provide it by. And only it's just this bickering in government I think was the biggest fall of not being prepared, but we -- especially when they were supposed to put a dike around here, and the money that would have saved.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You said you have lived here your whole life. How would you compare this storm to other storms that have come through?

ROBERT PULSCH: Well, Donna was the next worst one that came up because I lived 59:00here already and hurricanes and this one too. They come and they go. Now the December storm that one year where we stayed in for three tides I guess, it was a big northeastern really. There was a northeastern. Well, they call it the -- they have it in December. Thanksgiving -- not thank -- Halloween storm. That devastated Sea Bright too. But usually the hurricanes it blows out soon as it goes by, the eye goes by. I've seen a couple eyes come through here.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did anything happen here with Irene?



ROBERT PULSCH: Well, it came up, the water just touched that foundation, because my wife and I were having lunch, sitting at the table and watching the tide come in, and it came right up to the foundation and stopped and turned around.


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. How has it shaped environmental issues?

ROBERT PULSCH: What environmental?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Global warming?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh, it definitely had. You know, I was reading I guess just a couple days before the storm in the National Geographic where they're finding villages there on the North Sea in extreme low water where people lived out there. Of course, there was no English channel there at one time, thousands and thousands years ago. It was all connected and [unintelligible - 01: 00: 53] get eat away, eat away, and the water keeps rising and it's definitely happening. I mean look at our glaciers and stuff, they're just melting away.


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Does it make you think about changing anything personally or?

ROBERT PULSCH: I don't know in my lifetime, no. I don't know.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think you're going to live the rest of your life out here?

ROBERT PULSCH: I hope so, I really do.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You said you're planning on trying to raise the home.

ROBERT PULSCH: I don't know.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Are you required to?

ROBERT PULSCH: No. I could get away with it because my work in the house was a little under the 50% mark.


ROBERT PULSCH: And a lot of people feel that way here. And the houses across they're on slabs. They're new houses, newer than this house. Now way they raise it and no way they're moving it. I mean they haven't been here as long as me. They're not moving, jack in the corner back there. Of course Mike he's building a fortress back there, you know. Beautiful job. You know there's one 62:00house down on Main Street, two houses down from my cousin because my father was born down there and she lives in the house now, but the house was broad side to the road and they raised that up right away. Young, very young people in here and they probably put a lot of money because to get it done right away you had to have it.

They raised it up and they got a big white porch out in the front, looking [unintelligible - 01: 02: 46]. It looks beautiful. I support it, sit down in the porch and look out. What if people like to look at [unintelligible - 01: 02: 54] I don't know.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you believe things will return to normal?

ROBERT PULSCH: Be years. Just this one really took a toll and especially with 63:00the requirements now that you have to raise the houses. And yes, there will return, but I bet it's going to be four or five years before because a lot of these homes were summer homes. They're on pile -- not pile, on piers, these concrete piers. They're raising one alongside the firehouse now and -- not really, not that little big one. He's going to raise his too, but there's an old one in there that was probably built in the 30s or 20s, right on the ground. And [unintelligible - 01: 03: 48] and I went to others so curious what they were going to do or what that looked like. Well, they must have realized it was rotted because they just chopped big squares out in the floor to put their cribbing in, to put their steel in because you couldn't get under the house to 64:00put steel in, and they jacked it up and it looks like it just came right off the floor beams. It just rotted all around. I mean the house would have - it would have been easier to rip it down and…


ROBERT PULSCH: But people don't want that though. They want their house back.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Has the storm changed anything in your daily life?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yes. It affected me, you know. Just that it changed what I was going to do, maybe for the better, you know, but without it I'd be building other boat now and I was happy. I'll start building model boats now.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Does this make any changes to your outlook on the community?

ROBERT PULSCH: Yes, it's for the better. I really believe that. And my heart felt safe for the people down here. It made me really stop and think. I got to 65:00the end of Main Street right after that and I see the people. Some of the houses, oh just bulldozed and they're fixing it up. So, people has got a lot of roots here and I would say the majority of them are staying because a lot of them are missing their people. They're on the -- you know, they didn't have big paying jobs and they're probably just getting by, so if the government raises those houses, that will be the salvation.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: This have any change in your outlook on the world in general?



ROBERT PULSCH: That's hopeless. That's hopeless now.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How about changes to your political views?


ROBERT PULSCH: I don't know. I think more about it. But you know, what are we going to do? Here, the people are looking for money for their houses. We can't pay the bills. The federal government can't pay. Our debt is increasing every year and then you still -- you know, you got to do -- and of course the wars that we get involved in that costs more than what we're doing on our own. That's the only salvation I think about is take care of ourselves but we spend more than we take in.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think this impacted the election, the presidential election?

ROBERT PULSCH: It could have, not so much this but other things that's happening in the world.


ROBERT PULSCH: Oh yeah, I vote all the time.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did it change your view in your vote at all or no?


BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Will it change your vote for the 2013 Governor election?


ROBERT PULSCH: Right now, it wouldn't, not at all, not at all. You don't know what's going to happen. I mean it changes week to week. No. I think he's doing a real good job. He's pushing it. Good thing you got that procedure.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

ROBERT PULSCH: Give a message about the storm? Well, I have to really think about that. My only message would be to the government and the politicians to -- and I know it's going to happen. Just like appropriate the money. They oh they carry on and carry on and then they got all that [pork fat]. Yeah, well, if I vote for it, you got to take care of me. That's about what the size of it 68:00is. It's a shame. That got me. That's what really bothered me and really in your heart you know it's -- we just can't keep spending money but we seem to do it. I don't know. I think we've got to -- our grandchildren is going to have the problems I think. You'll see it what that help is starting to turn out. You're young. You got to go through it yet.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you believe the legacy of the storm will be?

ROBERT PULSCH: Oh it's going to be quite a legacy because it's -- what is it? Almost seven months now or maybe it is since it happened. It hasn't -- every day you look in the newspaper there's something on Sandy and the thing is it's 69:00just a small part of Middletown, you know, one section. Union Beach it's almost a whole borough. I mean that was devastating and that's going to be years before they can ever come out of that. They're ripping what, 280 down now I think.


ROBERT PULSCH: And it's 1800 houses that were affected by the storm.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, that sounds about right.

ROBERT PULSCH: I mean it's -- Union Beach [unintelligible - 01: 09: 39] years ago anyway. I mean just got out of it and then this hits, and the taxes there will be -- we won't be able to pay them. So, I don't know.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did I miss anything or anything that I should have asked that…?

ROBERT PULSCH: No, you were very good.


ROBERT PULSCH: I says, now what is she -- so what are we going to talk about? 70:00And I thought it was very good.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Well, that concludes the interview. Thank you very much.

ROBERT PULSCH: You're welcome. It was a pleasure. I was glad I could do it for you.

0:00 - Interview introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:This is Brittany Le Strange. Today’s date is Thursday, May 16, 2013. The time is 10:12 and I’m interviewing Robert Pulsch.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Robert Pulsch.



0:13 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript:How old are you Mr. Pulsch?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about taking over his father's plumbing business. He also states that his father gave him and his wife a lot of land as a wedding gift on which Pulsch built his house.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Business; Children; Construction; Daughters; Family; House; Lived; Middletown; Neighborhood; Plans; Rhode Island; Rooms; Son; State; Virginia; Work


3:54 - Living in New Jersey

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Partial Transcript:What do you like about living in New Jersey?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes his younger years going to the swimming pool for fun. He also tells about being a volunteer fireman.

Keywords: Beach; Belmar; Community; Firehouse; Fireman; Helped; Houses; Involved; Living; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Ocean; Pool; Port Monmouth; Port Monmouth Fire Department; Sandy Hook; Seabright; Seaside Heights; Shore; State; Town; Volunteer; Water


7:57 - Schools / community events

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Partial Transcript:What are the schools like around here?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes the schools in his area. He recalls that his aunt was a teacher when he was younger which affected his behavior then.

Keywords: Area; Bayshore; Beach; Buses; Children; Community; Crime; Flood; Highway; Houses; Middletown; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Port Monmouth; School; Teacher


GPS: Middletown, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.396294, -74.093367

11:10 - First word of the storm

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Partial Transcript:When did you first hear that the storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch compares Hurricane Donna and Hurricane Sandy stating that Donna was more violent. Therefore, he didn't take Hurricane Sandy warnings seriously.

Keywords: After the storm; Basement; Beach; Bridge; Business; Car; Community; Cook; Doors; Fire; Fireman; First thoughts; Flood; Floors; Food; Hit; Home; House; Houses; Hurricane; Hurricane Donna; Keansburg; Lived; News forecast; Police station; Port Monmouth; Port Monmouth Fire Department; Stores; Storm; Town; Weather


16:06 - Preparations / warnings

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Partial Transcript:How did you prepare for it?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes preparing for the storm with a generator and having his family together. He also states that he believes there was adequate warning for the storm yet he decided not to leave his home.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Boats; Business; Cars; Children; Cook; Daughters; Doors; Evacuation warnings; Fire department; Generators; Highway; House; Lights; Morning; Neighbors; Prepare; Radio; Son; Storm; Street; Supplies; Warning; Water


19:56 - Day of the storm

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Partial Transcript:What did you do the day of the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes raising his tools and his furniture before the water came in. He also was still able to cook because of his gas stove.

Keywords: Beach; Boats; Building; Damage; Dinner; Dunes; Flood; Furniture; Gas; Hit; Home; House; Hurricane; Immediate; Information; Job; Night; Ocean; Power; Radio; Signs; Sleep; Son; Storm; Water; Wind; Work


23:48 - Next day / damages

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Partial Transcript:What went through your mind the next day when you woke up?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch discusses his cellar being fully submerged in water after the storm hit. He also describes his losses including some expensive power tools.

Keywords: Damage; Daughters; Debris; Floors; Gas; Generators; Heat; Home; Horrible; House; Hudson River; Kingston; Lights; Mess; Newport; Outside; Respond; Rhode Island; Salvaging; Services; Son; Storm; Surge; Union Beach; Washington; Water; Wind


27:45 - Mood of the community / cell phone service

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Partial Transcript:Can you describe the mood of the community the next day?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how besides themselves his neighbors were after the storm. He also mentions the Red Cross helping as well as the Mennonites.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Cell phones; Church; Clean; Community; Contractors; Cook; Daughters; Faith; Help; House; Houses; Hurricane; Mennonite; Mood; Moved; Neighbors; Ocean; Pennsylvania; Red Cross; Seabright; Service; Sister; Verizon; Work


32:22 - Managing after the storm

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Partial Transcript:Okay. How long would you say the power outage lasts?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how quickly stores reopened in his area. He also mentions the long gas lines and finding a gas station in New Brunswick with no gas lines which was extremely rare at this time.

Keywords: Cars; Cell phones; Children; Damage; Debris; Flood; Gas lines; Gas shortage; Gas stations; Generators; Highway; House; Job; Kids; Mail; Moved; Port Monmouth; Power outage; Princeton; Property; Son; Stores; Storm; Street; Water; Work; Working


36:39 - Clean up / Insurance

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Partial Transcript:How long did it take for trash to come pick up, they start up again?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how horrible of an experience he had with his homeowners insurance. Fortunately. he was able to receive money from his flood insurance.

Keywords: Adjuster; Boats; Clean up; Construction; Electricity; FEMA; Flood insurance; Garbage; Generators; Help; Highway; House; Insurance companies; Lights; Middletown; Money; Power companies; Quickly; Son; Trash; Working


42:38 - Coping after the storm

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Partial Transcript:Did the authorities implement any protocols or curfews in the area?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes the unfortunate story of a former neighbor of his. He also discusses the toll the storm took on his family.

Keywords: Beach; Boats; Building; Community; Contractors; Cope; Coped; Curfews; Emergency; House; Houses; Income; Job; Money; Morning; Papers; Plans; Property; State; Street; Water


46:32 - Response from FEMA

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Partial Transcript:Did you feel safe in the community with all the looting and everything going on?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about how the police worked around the clock after the storm. He also feels FEMA was a good source for help.

Keywords: Borough; Building; Cars; Community; Contractors; Contributors; FEMA; Floors; Furniture; Generators; Highway; Home; Insurance companies; Lights; Living; Local government; Looting; Middletown; Money; Neighbors; Organization; Police; Response; Safe; Seabright; Town; Work; Working


GPS: Middletown, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.396294, -74.093367

50:09 - Preparation of New Jersey

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Partial Transcript:Do you feel New Jersey prepared adequately?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch believes that New Jersey was not prepared for the storm. He does state that FEMA and organizations such as FEMA were the ones who were prepared.

Keywords: Boardwalks; Dunes; Elevation maps; federal government; FEMA; Flood; Freak occurence; Horrible; Keansburg; Middletown; Money; New Jersey; Port Monmouth; Prepare; Prepared; Prepared adequately; President; State


54:23 - Media coverage / opinion on the governor and president

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Partial Transcript:How did you feel about the media coverage, did you feel it was accurate or did you feel represented by them?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch praises both the president and the governor in their involvement. He also was amazed at the response from the rest of the country during their time of need.

Keywords: Accurate; Boardwalks; Business; Changed; Country; Coverage; Economy; Experience; federal government; Governor Christie; Hurricane Katrina; Job; Keansburg; Levees; Media; Morning; Port Monmouth; Prepared; President Obama; Rebuild; Response; Sandy Hook; State; Taxes; Teacher; Union Beach


58:47 - Other storms / returning to normal

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Partial Transcript:You said you have lived here your whole life. How would you compare this storm to other storms that have come through?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch discusses the plans in his area that are being prepared in case of future natural disasters. He believes that global warming had a big part in the occurrence of Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: Environment; Firehouse; Floors; Global warming; Home; Houses; Hurricane; Hurricane Donna; Hurricane Irene; Job; Lived; Money; Normal; Seabright; Storm; Thanksgiving; Water


64:19 - Changes to daily life

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Partial Transcript:Has the storm changed anything in your daily life?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes his views on the impact of the storm on the presidential election. He also mentions that a lot of the people affected stayed because of their roots there.

Keywords: 2013 election; Boats; Building; Changed; Community; Cost; Daily life; Election; federal government; Governor; Houses; Job; Money; Outlook; Political; Presidential campaign; Salvaging; Storm; Vote; World


67:24 - Message of the storm

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Partial Transcript:If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about giving a message to the politicians about money. He also mentions that Hurricane Sandy was still in the newspapers in some form seven months afterwards.

Keywords: Devastating; Hurricane Sandy; Legacy; Message; Middletown; Money; Storm; Taxes; Union Beach; Vote


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